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I am in a small village town. It is not small as in tiny with few houses, It is small as in a small town with next to no modern amenities but bigger than a typical village. I call it Villtown. You can see it as a reverse of fortune in a way, from a number one City in the world with everything you can get of the worldly-wise and deen-wise to a world’s backyard village no one ever heard of except for the fact that it has in it a university, the only thing that makes it bearable for me.

I got here back in December, 2013 and reported for work at the University in January 2014 ” in service of the nation”. Yes, service of the nation. A compulsory part of life as a graduate in my home country. I had evaded it for more than a decade unknowingly but I now had to do it for no other way out of it. I had no idea that those educated abroad will still need to do the service before they can be eligible to enter into the job market. In fact, the first thing you get asked before your qualification for a job is the National service. No National service, no job unless you want to go the corrupt way or are self employed.

So, I jumped off the plane and hopped on the bus for the national service. No time to relax and take stock of life so far, one must work to make a living, otherwise life could be a bit more miserable with no breadwinner. It was a long winding process but much improved than the previous years, everything online now but that does not exclude the long queuing and bureaucratic process with underhand discrimination and victimisation of this little Muslim woman.

After jumping through many hoops along the way, I ended up in this tiny village. I remember telling some of my friends back in the UK that I joined the national service, they were like ” you joined the military?” No, it’s not the military, national service does not necessarily means the Military service. Though run by the military, graduates are sent to serve in different parts of the country from which they originate or studied. They are placed to serve in places related to their course of study but mainly teaching. Some get placed in companies or organisations depending on many factors, which I have no idea about, perhaps influence. I did tried to influence my placement as an option for overseas graduates which I did not realise until very late in the process.

Eventually, I ended up in this village town as one of the lucky few, as I was made to understand. Which means, it could be worse. There were dramas in-between as its always the case in my life, especially being this hijab-wearing little Muslim woman.

My place of primary assignment in this village is the University in the village, a state University, established in 1999, quite young. Not surprisingly, I was the only Muslim woman posted to this place in my group. They have 3 groups each year. The first group in the year had a Muslim brother, the second group had a Muslim brother and I am the only Muslim in the third group and the group after me had no Muslim at all. On the minimum, each group will be about 20 graduates, which makes it like ratio 20:1. It means for every 20 graduates posted to serve in this village University, you have one Muslim if you are lucky. My point?! the extent to which Muslims are being victimised, discriminated against and excluded in this country of mine and my experience in this particular place as an outsider is an example in point. All of which will form part of my writing henceforth, insha Allah.

Didn’t I say I volunteered to teach Quran to the local children in my last post and the experience was very revealing. It is part of the national service to give to the local community whatever you are able to, by volunteering your skills and knowledge apart from what you do in your primary assignment. Having been teaching Quran for years and missing that bit of my life, I decided to teach local children as my own private and personal little project but first I’ve got to find them.

I asked one of the two Muslim brothers I met here, and what he told me was very shocking to say the least. First, he said he does not really think it will work and I asked why. Then he narrated that they’ve tried doing Friday dawah and Jumah prayers in a local school headed by a Muslim Principal, just for the Muslim children only, being a state school. He said when they approached the Principal with their idea, he welcomed it being a Muslim himself and sees nothing wrong in it as it was meant only for Muslim children. But the parents, teachers and local people sees it differently.

They were hounded out of the school just after two sessions and the Muslim Head of the school was helpless to do anything about it. In fact, if he had stepped-in in favour of the Muslim brothers, he most likely would have lost his job. Being a Head of school in a place staunchly anti-Muslim is a privilege and grace he can’t afford to lose just for the sake of some graduates Muslim personal project. Muslims here don’t amount to much, if they don’t change their religion except by the grace and mercy of Allah. This informs the attitude of majority of the Muslims here and what they pass on to their children.

Despite the brother’s narrations about this case, I thought I could still make a difference, I could contribute the little I know and I could do something in my own little way to impact on the Muslim children that it is ok to be a practising Muslim and amount to much in life. Being a Muslim is not a barrier in life, in fact it opens many doors for the worldly good and most importantly that of the next. I must have been wrong, because no sooner did I embark on my little project did the heat started getting fired in my direction. I myself became a victim, in fact I was already a victim from the point of my entry into the service but thought nothing of it, just one of those things. I thought after all I am now on the soil on which I was born, where I belong. But they are telling me I don’t belong here, I look, sound, think and act different from their expectations, above all an hijab-wearing little Muslim woman.

Before I go into the genesis and details of this on-going experience, I don’t want to forget about my children. How I found then, where I found them, what I did with them, how it ended and my hope for these children and their likes.

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Alhamdulillah, I have had the opportunity to learn the Quran when I was young and again as an adult but this time with focus on Tajweed. While learning, Allah(swt) granted me the grace to teach children and adults likewise who had never learnt before or just continuing with their learning with me.

Over the years, I have seen this as a special grace upon me from Allah because certain situations and circumstance just open a door for you that you never knew existed in the first place. When I started learning Tajweed in 2009, I never know I could because the situation was just not right and the circumstance was really bad but I started, putting my trust in Allah and before I knew it, I finished all of the levels with distinctions. When I started teaching  in 2010, I never knew I could. But the opportunity came,  I took the plunge and it became second nature, Alhamdulillah.

I am most grateful to Allah for the opportunity to learn and teach Quran and thankful to all my Teachers, I had quite a few of them and all very lovely and good Teachers. Also thankful to my students, infact they were my Teachers, who taught me to teach them.

Having taught Quran non-stop since 2010, it became a very essential part of my daily life and I enjoyed it so much for the opportunity it gave me to continually learn and improve my reading and understanding of the Quran both in the letter and spirit. Currently, I am not teaching and I really am feeling the void. It does not feel normal for me because I have changed environment and now back to my home country.

Here, where I am, people don’t really take the deen seriously. People are more interested in the worldly gains and they train their children likewise. The deen is relegated to a past- time, an after-thought or just like things we have to do because others are doing it.   But this attitude differs from place to place and people to people. In a Christian dominated environment where I am, Muslims who are indigenes of this place are kind of begging to be, let alone outsiders like myself.

I observed how parents placed so much emphasis on secular education for their children above the learning of the deen.  Most of these parents themselves have no knowledge of the deen, the little they have are so exaggerated to the point of annoyance, even to a  Muslim. People here believe more in the outward manifestation of Islam devoid of proper understanding.  Wearing hijab in an exaggerated version is regarded as the epitome of Iman here, even when these hijab wearer cannot even muster to read the smallest portion of Quran with understanding. Their manners and attitude in some cases against the Islam they are trying to portray.

I tried my best to feel at home with the people by volunteering my service to teach Quran to the local children and it was a big revelation to me.

Next post………..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Eidul Fitr 2014

Posted by: Sisterinhijabin Eid
23
Aug
Eidul Fitr 2014

Eidul Fitr 2014

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Alhamdulillah for Eid Fitr

Posted by: Sisterinhijabin Update
9
Aug

All praises and glorification belongs to Allah

Who has given us this wonderful month of Ramadan

The month so blessed and beautiful that all evil are kept locked-up

So the beloved servants of Allah can be steadfast in worship

Goodness flows, even from the most-sinful of hearts

The beloved servants of Allah so devoted

In the service of their Lord Most High

They leave their food and drinks

Kept aloof from all evil desires

Permissible desires kept at bay solely for the sake of Allah

Heart cleansed and focused on the one and only Creator of all

In hope and fear of the Most Merciful Lord of all, so devoted

The lofty reward is none other than the abode of Jannah

All praises and glorification belongs to Allah

Who blessed us with that one night

The one and only night bestowed upon us

Only in this sacred month of Ramadan

The night better than a thousand months

Angels descend at the command of the Most High

All prayers and invocation answered

Destinies made better

Peace and tranquility fills the night till dawn

For those who take heed and meet the night

In hope and fear of the Most Merciful Lord of all, so devoted

The lofty reward is none other than the abode of Jannah

All praises and glorification belongs to Allah

Who blessed us with the Eid

The celebration of those who fasted

To rejoice in the mercy of our Lord

Who blessed us with Ramadan

The blessed night of destiny, the night of power

Purified us for the next year coming

When we hope to meet Ramadan again

Full of thanks and praises to our Lord Most High

Alhamdulillah for Eid Fitr

The celebration of those who fasted

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And (remember) when your Lord brought forth from the Children of Adam, from their loins, their seed (or from Adam’s loin his offspring) and made them testify as to themselves (saying): “Am I not your Lord?” They said: “Yes! We testify,” lest you should say on the Day of Resurrection: “Verily, we have been unaware of this.”

Or lest you should say: “It was only our fathers afortime who took others as partners in worship along with Allah, and we were (merely their) descendants after them; will You then destroy us because of the deeds of men who practised Al-Batil (i.e. polytheism and committing crimes and sins, invoking and worshipping others besides Allah)?” (Tafsir At-Tabari). (Araf Q7:172-173)

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My Dear Ramadan !

Posted by: Sisterinhijabin Ramadan, Self-reflection, Update, Written words
28
Jul

Ramadan, Oh Ramadan!

My dear Ramadan

How come you are visiting, I am not at home to welcome you

How come your entrance met my absence from the place you expected

me

Your arrival met my eyes red and wet with tears streaming down my face

Oh Ramadan, My dear Ramadan!

In what way do you wish me to welcome you?

Crying or rejoicing?

If I cry, it is for the sorrow of not being there at home to see you arrive

If I cry, it is for the fate that befell me in your absence

If I cry, it is out of grief till I come home to embrace you before you leave

again

If I rejoice, it is only that

Even not at home, I still smell the fragrance of your entrance

Ramadan, Oh Ramadan!

My dear Ramadan

The moon is dark

The sky is grey

The clouds are gathering

My heart is heavy

My tears are flowing

My mind is clouded

But you are still very dear to my heart

Where ever I may be

Oh Ramadan, My dear Ramadan!

(تَقَبَّلَ اللّهُ مِنَّ وَ مِنْكُمْ)

Ramadan met me in a place I hated to be, so I wrote this poem to express my feelings.

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The Jinn believed and testified

Posted by: Sisterinhijabin Quran
18
Feb

Say (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم): “It has been revealed to me that a group (from three to ten in number) of Jinn listened (to this Qur’an). They said: ‘Verily, we have heard a wonderful Recitation (this Qur’an)! ‘It guides to the Right Path, and we have believed therein, and we shall never join (in worship) anything with our Lord (Allah). ‘And He, exalted be the Majesty of our Lord, has taken neither a wife nor a son (or offspring or children). (Al-Jinn Q72:1-3)

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Not just Pharoah, Imagine! Satan testifies…

Posted by: Sisterinhijabin Update
17
Feb

(Their allies deceived them) like Shaitan (satan), when he says to man: “Disbelieve in Allah.” But when (man) disbelieves in Allah, Shaitan (satan) says: “I am free of you, I fear Allah, the Lord of the ‘Alamin (mankind, jinn and all that exists)!
(Al-Hashr Q59:16)

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And We took the Children of Israel across the sea, and Fir’aun (Pharaoh) with his hosts followed them in oppression and enmity, till when drowning overtook him, he said: “I believe that none has the right to be worshipped but He (Allah) in Whom the Children of Israel believe, and I am one of the Muslims (those who submit to Allah’s Will).”

Now (you believe) while you refused to believe before and you were one of the Mufsidun (evil-doers, the corrupters).

So this day We shall deliver your (dead) body (out from the sea) that you may be a sign to those who come after you! And verily, many among mankind are heedless of Our Ayat (proofs, evidence, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.).

(Yunus Q10:90-92)

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Moses believed and submitted…

Posted by: Sisterinhijabin Quran, Reminder
15
Feb

And when musa (Moses) came at the time and place appointed by Us, and his Lord (Allah) spoke to him; he said: “O my Lord! Show me (Yourself), that I may look upon You.” Allah said: “You cannot see Me, but look upon the mountain; if it stands still in its place then you shall see Me.” So when his Lord appeared to the mountain , He made it collapse to dust, and musa (Moses) fell down unconscious. Then when he recovered his senses he said: “Glory be to You, I turn to You in repentance and I am the first of the believers.
(Al-Araf Q7:143)